- MANSLAUGHTER PLEA
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Federal prosecutors say a 22-year-old man who fatally shot another man while staying at his girlfriend's house has pleaded guilty to a voluntary manslaughter charge. The U.S. Attorney's Office in New Mexico announced that Joshua Gutierrez entered the plea Friday in Albuquerque federal court. A news release from the U.S. attorney says Gutierrez was staying at a home on the Navajo Nation where his girlfriend and her father lived when the shooting occured on March 29 when he went to investigate an argument. The shooting happened on the Navajo Nation and Gutierrez faces 12 years in prison.
- PENSION FUND-PRIVATE PRISONS
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A panel that oversees a multibillion-dollar pension fund for New Mexico teachers and other educational retirees is taking a step toward dropping investments in private prison companies. The Educational Retirement Board voted 4-2 with one member abstaining to amend its investment policies to exclude private prisons. Teachers' unions and immigrant activists have been pushing the board to do so for more than a year, saying divesting in certain companies would make a statement. Some board members reiterated their concerns during Friday's meeting, saying the board has to be mindful of constitutional mandates and statutory requirements that guide investment of the retirement fund.
- TEACHER OF THE YEAR
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — An Albuquerque charter school educator has been named New Mexico Teacher of the Year. Alisa Cooper de Uribe is a bilingual first grade teacher at New Mexico International School. She's the second charter school teacher to win the award in its 57-year history. As Teacher of the Year, Cooper de Uribe will serve as an example to her peers and work with the state Public Education Department. She will represent her state in the national Teacher of the Year competition. She is receiving a $25,000 grant from the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association to support her professional development.
- VIRUS OUTBREAK-NEW MEXICO
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Eight football players at the University of New Mexico and one assistant coach tested positive for the coronavirus. The positive cases announced Wednesday led state officials to step in and shut down all team activities. University athletic director Eddie Nuñez says if the team is unable to practice for the next week, they will not be able to safely play their first scheduled game on Oct. 24 against Colorado State. The university's football team was allowed to resume practice by agreeing to safety protocols and guidelines. The guidelines were not met once the state announced that Bernalillo County's 14-day average rose to 14.1 cases per 100,000 people.
- MAIL-IN BALLOTS-LAWSUIT
PHOENIX (AP) — An appeals court has refused to give an extra 10 days after Election Day to count ballots mailed by Navajo Nation members living on the Arizona portion of the tribe's reservation. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled a later deadline would burden officials who wouldn't be able to tell from ballots whether voters are members of the tribe. The court said Navajos who sought the extension because of slow mail delivery on the reservation had no legal standing to sue and raised questions about the difficulty of using information on ballots to try to distinguish between Navajos living on tribal lands and other voters.
- VIRUS OUTBREAK-NEW MEXICO
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is warning that an unprecedented surge in COVID-19 infections is likely to strain the state's health care system as confirmed cases set a new one-day record at 672. State health official said that intensive care units are full at two major hospitals out of three in Albuquerque as infections accelerate and that the trend could end up constraining other medial services. Lujan Grisham has already limited gatherings to five people or less, reduced hotel capacities and a set 10 p.m. closing time for restaurants. Health officials responded in one week to 611 reports of infections at businesses and other institutions.
RIO RANCHO, N.M. (AP) — A group of U.S. Black scholars, activists and writers has launched a new project to combat misleading information online around voting, reparations and immigration. The recently launched National Black Cultural Information Trust seeks to counter fake social media accounts and Twitter trolls who often discourage Black voters from participating in elections. Project founder Jessica Ann Mitchell Aiwuyor says some dubious accounts behind the social media American Descendants of Slavery movement tell Black voters to skip the presidential election. She says some accounts also use the movement's ADOS hashtag to flame divisions between African Americans and Black immigrants.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has agreed to take up President Donald Trump's policy, blocked by a lower court, to exclude people living in the U.S. illegally from the census count that will be used to allocate seats in the House of Representatives. Never in U.S. history have immigrants been excluded from the population count that determines how House seats, and by extension Electoral College votes, are divided among the states, a three-judge federal count said in September when it held Trump's policy illegal. The justices put the case on a fast track, setting arguments for December. A decision is expected by the end of the year or early in January, when Trump has to report census numbers to the House.